A Different World (1987–1993): Season 5, Episode 4 - Almost Working Girl - full transcript

Whitley recommends Jaleesa's temp agency to E.H. Wright, but problems ensue when Freddie is hired and disagrees with her boss on affirmative action.

Gina, Pam

I'm sending you
to house o' cheese.

The manager needs people
to fill mail orders

for cheese logs.

Those nasty, fake cheddar cheese
things with pecans?

It's seven dollars an hour
and free lunch.


Honey, hush, all right.

See you guys later.


Well, well, well.

Vincent-Taylor-made temps
is looking

kind of semi-professional
these days.

And to what do I owe this honor?

For what you are about
to receive

be ye ever so grateful.


What are you talking about?

E.h. Wright is looking
for a temporary receptionist

on my floor

and I recommended
your temp agency, jaleesa.

Why, whitley...

I don't know why.

Probably pity.

Here's the name
of the person to contact.

She's head of human resources.

Does all the hiring.

Well, thank you.

Be sure you mention my name.

It doesn't hurt to have
a good relationship

with e.H. Wright...

The biggest insurance
company in the country.

I said, "thank you."

Call right now.

Send your best person.

And you can mail me
my commission.


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Ms. Julia Reeves, please.

Hello, Mrs. Reeves,
this is jaleesa vinson-Taylor

at vinson-Taylor-made temps.

Yes. Whitley Gilbert
suggested that I call you.

Within one hour?

Well, yes, I will have
my best person there

within one hour.

No. Thank you.



In an hour.


In an hour.



In class.

In jail...

Hey, jaleesa.

Hi, Freddie.

Oh, I couldn't.

Couldn't what?



What are you mumbling about?

They need a receptionist
right away.

Who does?

E.h. Wright, and I don't
have anybody to send.

Oh, yes, you do.


Freddie, I don't think so.

They're a very evolved company.

They divested from South Africa,
they recycle

they're politically correct.

I can work there.

No, Freddie.

I am very articulate...
Speak fluent messenger.

You would not like this job.

What does it pay?

$12 an hour.

I love it!

I don't.

Come on, my sister.

I need the money.

You need the help.

You know, it pains me
to say this, but you're right.

Freddie, Freddie, please,
this is very corporate.

No problem.

You've got to fit in.

Hey, think of me
as a social chameleon.

I can fit in with anyone,
anywhere, anytime.

Fine, then let's start here.

No, no, not the brush!

You're not combing my hair.

E.h. Wright, please hold.

E.h. Wright, please hold.

E. H. Wright, please hold.

E.h. Wright, hold on,
I'll transfer you.


Excuse me.

What is this you gave me?

Morning volcano...
Caffeine-free herbal tea.

It's terrific.

I knew you'd love it.

Thank you.

Anything, anytime.

E.h. Wright,
please hold.

I know everything there is
to know about art.

I was born surrounded by art.

See you later.

Have you tried meditation?

Okay, hold on.


Please tell me I'm dreaming.

Tell me this is a nightmare.

Scary, isn't it?

Working girls unite.

Hey, what about lunch?

I'm going to kill jaleesa.

Who thought we
would work together?


Hush puppies.

You were going
to start serving food

with more fiber and less fat.

Shoot, if people want more fiber

they can go gnaw on a tree.

Ah, track.

I love to see women run...

Toward me, that is.

I know that doesn't happen
too often.

You better be running
to your math homework.

First I got to start
reading Romeo and Juliet.

I got an oral report
this afternoon for Mr. Foster.

Oh, professor foster.

I know his material well...

Flunked his class twice.

Why are you so proud of that?

You have your goals.

I have mine.

Mission accomplished.

West Side story?

You were supposed
to get Romeo and Juliet.

It was out.

The video guy said
this was the same

but with music.

Of course he said that...
He wanted your two dollars.

Look at the box. Look.

"The same timeless theme
as Romeo and Juliet."

Thank you.

Get your two dollars back.

Now, let's see...

"Thy head is as full of quarrels
as an egg is full of meat

"and yet thy head hath been
beaten as addle as an egg

for quarreling?"

Is this a love story
or a cook book?

Who talks like this?

We got a movie to watch.

Our first date.

Winifred, I distinctly asked you
for a cup of coffee.

What is this mug of peat moss?

Good morning, miss Gilbert.

Dan, I'll be right back to you

as soon as I recatalog
those new paintings.

Are you poisoning me?

It's caffeine-free herbal tea

and studies have proven...


I'll get your coffee.

I'm not sure I agree
with you, Mrs. Reeves.

Affirmative action does more

to water down
our accomplishments

than to balance any
employment opportunities.

I'm here by my own merits,
not because of any quotas.

I hire people by
qualifications, not color.

I'll see you later.



Excuse me.

I don't mean to interrupt

but I couldn't help overhearing
your conversation.

Freddie, my coffee is tepid.

It's difficult to believe
you haven't benefited

from minority programs.

My ability to help myself
benefited me most.

People don't need a crutch
from the government.

People need an opportunity.

Affirmative action
gives them that.

She's saying we're fortunate
to have these jobs

and will do everything we can

to keep these jobs
we're so happy to have.

I'm opposed to programs
that create dependency

and keep people from
becoming self-motivated.

Where is the elevator?

Yes, where?!

Before affirmative action

how many blacks held
high-level positions?

I'm sure quite a few.

How did you get your job?

Excuse me?

I don't have to explain myself.

You can help people
help themselves.

Why not hire someone
with potential and train them?

That's not my job.

It is your responsibility.

Excuse me, you are..?

Elevator's here!

This is Julia Reeves.

She's head of personnel.

Miss Reeves,
your elevator's here.

As a black woman,
I find your position deplorable.

And as a black woman,
I find your position vacant.


What is your friend's name?

My friend?

I've never seen her before
in my life.

What Romeo and Juliet was about
is senseless violence.

It's like gangs today.

People are dying over nothing.

Interesting point. Go on.

Like when they started
shaking hands over Tony...

I mean Romeo's body...

I thought to myself, "why?"

Yes, I'm sure you did.

And what did you think
of mercutio?


He was cool.

He was cool.


I liked him too.

Well, perhaps you'll grace us
with a medley

from West Side story.

It's not her fault.

If there's anybody to blame,
it's the man at the video store.

Look, professor, the play
just didn't make no sense.

I couldn't get with it.

I signed up for English lit,
not a foreign language.

Miss James, do you realize
that some people

consider the way you speak
a foreign language?

Well, people understand me

in my neighborhood.

Well, this is
professor foster's neighborhood.

And it's a beautiful day
to improve yourself.

The more you learn
and the more you know

the more you can accomplish.

Why limit yourself?

It's those words.

It takes time, miss James.

Something you've obviously
not given it.

This play was written in 1594

when people
had an attention span.

That's because
they didn't have cable.

I'll pretend
you didn't say that.

I want each of you
to learn a speech

from any play of Shakespeare.

Find the meaning of the words
within the poetry.

And miss James

don't let the language
confuse you.

Let it lead you.

I'll let it lead

but I don't know
if I can follow.


Your grade depends on it.

Tomorrow you will recite
the passages aloud.

I'm glad you approve.

And now you may all exeunt.

Oh, dear.

I knew I should not have
sent Freddie.

Why didn't I just
send them a scud missile?


Jaleesa, this tragedy
could leave an ugly blemish

on an otherwise
pristine reputation.

They'll never work
with me again.

I'm not talking about you.

I'm talking about me.

I recommended you for this job.

Whitley, it doesn't seem right

to fire someone

for voicing
their political opinions.

Opinion, colonel Taylor?

Freddie declared war

on the head of personnel.

It started
when she made the first strike

with her big bazooka mouth.

Freddie, what did she do?

Put paper in the aluminum bin
or something?

I was minding my own business,
when Julia Reeves...

A black woman...
Spouted the ridiculous opinion

that affirmative action should
be abolished at e.H. Wright.

She said what?

Then she asked for my opinion.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

I don't recall
anybody asking you

for your opinion, missy.

Somebody had to say something.

It was obvious it wasn't going
to be you, the corporate coward.

How can anybody feel like that

in this day and age?

Thank you.

Power to the people, my sister.

I happen to agree

with miss Reeves'
ridiculous opinion.

She just wants us
to help ourselves

like I did.

I worked hard to get
where I am today.

Yes, whitley, we have all heard

about your struggle
up from suburbia.

Jaleesa, what this girl did

was totally unprofessional
and out of line.

What is out of line

is doing business with a company

that refuses to acknowledge
the struggle of minorities.

No, it's not that simple.

Well, if it were up to women
like Julia Reeves

we would all still be
in the back of the bus.

Jaleesa, where are my clothes?

Top of the stairs, to the right.

Oh, that girl,
she makes me crazy

but I happen to agree with her.

She had the guts to stand up
for her beliefs.

You were just standing up
for another raise.

Oh, sure

blame the victim.

Brad, what do you think?

I think whitley has a point.

Thank you, colonel Taylor.

Someone's thinking clearly
in this room.

Freddie picked the wrong person
and the wrong time

to express her opinion.

Fine. Fine.

Just take her side.

This has nothing
to do with sides.

It's just
that it's the wrong way

to run your business.

Oh, who asked you?

Okay, so it's "Romeo, o Romeo,

where art thou Romeo?"

You rang?

Not your bell.

You know, studying becomes you.

Well, thanks to professor foster

I'll be jamming
with Romeo all night.

Don't tell me he's Romeo?

Oh, no, no, no,
I'm othello, the moor.

More or less...

"Get thee gone, churl."

Ooh, I like it
when you talk dirty.

That means step off,
biscuit head.


Well, I'll get
my butter elsewhere.

All right.

I like your translation, Lena.


Wait a minute. Hold it.

"What's in a name?

"That which we call
a Rose by any other name

would smell as sweet."

Say what?

It doesn't matter
how you say it.

It all means the same.

Thanks, t.

You gave me a great idea.

You know, baby

man does not live
by ideas alone.

Come back when you're a man.

Come on, Poindexter,
don't fail papa now.

Where are you?

Oh, there it is.

It's open.

You have got to do
something about her.


She is the most unevolved,
unenlightened human on earth.

Yeah, whitley told me.

She doesn't think of how
things affect other people.

It's always me, me, me, me.

I was just trying
to express myself.

Freddie, did you lose
the account for jaleesa?



No, I don't think I did.

At least I hope I didn't.

Oh, no!

I was just trying to balance
an injustice.

Is that a crime?

I understand Freddie,

but jaleesa's been
working really hard

to get this business going.

You think I came on too strong?

Just a little bit.

Just a little bit.


A new math tutee.

I always heard
the math department

attracted the loveliest
of the lovelies.

I'm Ron Johnson, and you are..?




Ooh, what a little dark
and lovely will do for a sister.

I think I might have overreacted

just a little bit.

Why should I risk
a potentially good client

over one person's politics?

Hmm. Looky here.

Redskins... three-point
favorite this weekend.

But don't you think

I'm supporting her policies
by working with her?

Oh, look.

Big sale on weed whackers.

Well, I employ black people.

She employs me, and I'm black.

Looks like there's going
to be a coup in Madagascar.

Maybe I should just go
and talk to her.

Okay, all right,
all right, Brad.

You were right.

Oh, look, look, look.


"Jaleesa vinson-Taylor
eats crow."

"Arise, black vengeance

"from the hollow...

"From the hollow...

Arise, black vengeance..."

Methinks me went blank.

Thank you.

You get five points
for costuming.

Miss James?

"O gentle Romeo

"if thou dost love,
pronounce it faithfully:

"Or, if thou think'st
I am too quickly won

"I'll frown, and be perverse,
and say thee nay

"so thou wilt woo

"but else, not for the world.

In truth, fair montague,
I am too fond."

You've memorized it,
but do you understand it?

Of course. You know that.

It's all about translation.

Oh, sweet thang Romeo,
if you think I'm all that

then step to me correctly,
but if you think I'm a skeeze

I'll be dissin' and dismissin'.

Then you'll be workin' overtime
gettin' me back.

So stop perpetrating,
and let's get this party started

'cause, baby,
you know I love you.

I hear you.

"Lady, by yonder blessed moon
I swear

that tipped with silver
all these fruit-tree tops..."

"O, swear not by the moon

"th' inconstant moon

"that monthly changes
in her circled orb

lest thy love
prove likewise variable."

You've done excellent work.

Thank you. Thank you.

You know, Shakespeare really
spoke to the people

and I believe if he
was around today

he'd be a rapper...
Vanilla shake.

Uh, Mrs. Reeves,
I apologize on behalf of...

For any inconvenience
you may have...

I hope that this
does not affect...

What are you doing here?

I had the most
messed up nightmare.

I was trapped in this maze
of corporate cubicles.

You lost your business,
I lost my hair...

You are working my nerves.

It's my responsibility
to apologize.

You have done enough.
Trust me.

Mrs. Reeves!

Someone call security.

Freddie, I will handle this.

Mrs. Reeves, I am
jaleesa Vincent-Taylor

and I am very sorry
for all of this.

No, Mrs. Reeves,
this is all my fault.

Everything I said is my opinion

not that
of vinson-Taylor-made temps.

Not necessarily that of
vinson-Taylor-made temps.

I'm not apologizing
for Freddie's views

but I am apologizing
for her behavior.

It was inappropriate
and it won't happen again.

I appreciate your honesty,
and I accept your apology.

Nice meeting you.

Thank you very much.

Let's go, Freddie.

This is so beautiful.

I thought you were just
another pair of shoulder pads.

I was wrong.

Thank you, I think.


If you would just
reconsider your opinion

I'd hang out with you.

Mrs. Reeves, until we get
an appropriate replacement

is there anything
I can do for you?

E.h. Wright. Please hold.

E.h. Wright. Please hold.

E.h. Wright. Please hold.

E.h. Wright. Please hold.

E.h. Wright. Please hold.

E.h. Wright. Please hold.